Mrs. Terry Ault started her teaching journey in New Orleans in 1974, later bringing her passion for math to Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando in 1998. Her story is more than dates and locations; it’s a testament to the lasting impact teachers can have on their students.

Terry’s path into education was a destiny her mother saw coming early on. As a child, she was driven by a love for playing “school,” and she always played the role of the teacher while her siblings were students. With a bachelor’s degree in Math and a minor in Education, then later a master’s in educational administration, Terry had the qualifications to climb the academic administrative ladder. However, her heart remained in the classroom where she taught for more than 40 years.

To Terry, the real reward for being a teacher comes from seeing former students succeed beyond her class and graduation. One of these students is Ajay. More inclined towards civics and language arts, Ajay never felt like he was a good math student but Terry’s commitment to teaching made all the difference in his success. She went beyond the curriculum, offering after-school tutoring to students whenever needed, whether they were her current students or not. Inspired by this dedication, Ajay is now a teacher himself at Gotha Middle School.

I always believed my job started at 7am until whenever my students needed me. One of my students wanted to be a pharmacist and he knew how important math would be in his collegiate studies. When he found out I was teaching pre-calculus his senior year, he made sure to sign up.

He ended up testing straight into calculus in his first year at the University of Florida. And upon receiving his certification, he reached out and told me “It’s because of you that I made it.”

Terry recalls the extraordinary shift from chalkboards to PowerPoint presentations in her teaching career, navigating the ever-changing tides of education with resilience and adaptability. Now happily retired, she volunteers with A Gift for Teaching to show new teachers how to receive free supplies for their classrooms and students every month throughout the school year.

One of the things I miss most is working with other teachers, but now I get to do that in a different way. A culinary teacher once asked if she was able to receive a class set of measuring cups, and I suggested that she ask her peers to pick up extra cups for her during their free shopping trips. She ended up receiving a class set and more because of it!

I love it when teachers today still tell me about the joy in their student’s eyes when they see those shopping bags filled with possibilities, just like my students did when I taught. There truly is no place else like A Gift for Teaching.

Terry’s story highlights the significance of continued community support in fostering successful schools, educators, and ultimately, future leaders. It’s more than just physical materials; it’s a lifeline that ensures teachers have the resources to create engaging and impactful learning experiences that keep students eager and motivated to learn.

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Want to help teachers like Terry and Ajay make a lasting impact on local students?

Consider joining our monthly giving community of Classroom Heroes to help continue empowering teachers and inspiring students throughout the year. Your giving adds up!

In honor of our 25th birthday, generous funders will be matching new recurring monthly donations for an entire year. With this exclusive opportunity, a commitment to a $25 recurring gift will now go even further and provide six classrooms with access to essential supplies a year.

Your contribution isn’t just about replenishing the essential supplies teachers and students need for the rest of the school year; it’s about creating success stories for future leaders in our community.

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(More Student Journeys, Teacher Legacies stories: Meet Ajay as well as Meet Emma and Sara)